What if Assessments at School Looked Like This?

I have an eclectic taste in music; and I have a terrible video addiction. Thanks to those two realities, and the Google algorithm, I was presented with the above “Remaking SUNFLOWER – 1 Hour Challenge” in my suggested viewing on YouTube this morning.

And it blew my mind! Not just because Simon successfully produced a reasonable facsimile of the chart topper, Sunflower (side note, go see Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, it’s an amazing movie with a fantastic soundtrack, including this song). It blew my mind because it serves as an excellent example of what we should be striving for in schools; students capable of tackling challenges through their own means and abilities.

What would our schools like this if we gave students performance assessments like this? How many teachers could handle a performance assessment of this nature? How would this translate to Science, History, or Math?

The question that stuck with me the most was “how many teachers would be able to complete a performance assessment like this on their own?” Before you get all bent out of shape, I’m not pondering whether teachers should be attempting to learn the inner workings of a complex audio software creation tool and recreate popular music in a single hour. I’m talking about the possibility of teachers approaching professionals in their field of expertise and challenging themselves and students to recreate and/or perform a tasks that those professionals carry out every day.

What if English teachers had to perform a 60-minute short story challenge each week? What if Math teachers designed theorems or built scale model bridges as a monthly challenge? What if Chemistry students were challenged to recreate famous experiments (ones safe enough for school, sorry Marie Curie) as a means of practicing actual experimentation replication and validation? What if History students had to perform extemporaneous 3-minute debates on the historical ramifications of immigration and the similarities to today’s events?

As usual, casual YouTube watching always produces more questions than I have answers, but the questions seem like exciting experiments and curiosities to pursue. I would love to see a teacher deliver a performance task/challenge/assessment like this; as an added bonus, imagine allowing the students to evaluate one another as well.

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